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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  October 23, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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>> what do you think a tree can be? can it be stronger than steel? can a treaty biodegradable plastic? can it be fuel for our cars, or clothing, or medicine that fights cancer? with our tree cell technology, we think it can. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> some of you need to man out and spend some political capital to support the tea party candidates. >> i would rather be in our position and then there's.
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>> this week on "inside washington," counting down to the elections. >> there are a lot of folks in washington, d.c., who say it cannot be done, just like they said in 2008. >> attack ads bombard the voters. this one is different. >> don't vote. >> with democrats on the ropes, bill clinton to the rescue? >> it is true that we did not get you out of all hole in 21 months pre at least stopped digging. >> and the wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas telephones anita hill 19 years later for an apology. >> i don't have any comment. captioned by the national captioning institute >> hello, i'm mark shields,
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sitting in this week for gordon peterson. if the pollsters are correct, a republican wave is cresting and the gop is poised to take the house. the spotlight is shifting on the lights of the senate. races are tight everywhere. jeanne cummings, what will happen on november 2? >> prognosticators in washington state hollen to read in the senate and republicans winning the house. >> colby king? >> probably right. i agree with jeanne. what is interesting is that a week and half before the election, they are playing defense and the president is trying to establish a fireball in states that should be democratic. >> nina? >> there is some evidence that democrats are coming home, but it will not be enough. i agree with jeanne. >> charles?
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>> the peasantry will rise and the arrogant rulers will be humiliated. >> republicans are going to lose? [laughter] >> you are a little out of date. republicans are not in control. i know you have been catching up. you have been away. it is nine-one that republicans are going to win the house. in the senate you have four seats that will switch for sure. six or seven absolute tossups. unless the republicans draw an inside straight, which i think it's unlikely, they are one vote short in the said. -- in the senate. >> colby king, a battleground states, nev., have agreed is fighting for his life against sharron angle. >> he is, barbara boxer is fighting for her life, patty
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murray is alive but maybe not well in washington. i have never seen such strong and cummins -- at least they appeared strong at some point -- in such bad shape. >> that is the fire wall of the three western states, where they are spending up triaged resources. if they can hold those three, it will hold the senate. the others and the east are more problematic and might go republican. if two go republican, washington and nevada, it is a republican senate. >> there are weird things happening in the east. pennsylvania, which three weeks ago we thought was going to be a republican take-up, very tight right now. i am told that there is some movement, probably not enough to save russ feingold, but some movement towards them. i confess that there are things going on out there that are -- that i cannot quite figure out.
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>> one of the reasons these races have tightened up is that democrats were late to engage. they waited until after labor day as far as going on television. in pennsylvania, for instance, the democratic pac has had very hard-hitting advertisements against the republican, toomey, who in august pretty much had the race to himself. that is when the race open up on the republican side, and it has tightened up a little bit one piece of bad news for democrats is that they are trying to get momentum to come right at the right moment, but there seems to be a surge by republicans that the democrats had hoped would not happen, and that tightens up races where democrats had started to slip ahead. >> i want you to watch this spot, "don't know." it is quite latinos for reform,
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a conservative group. >> if they did not keep the promise on immigration reform, they cannot count on our vote. democratic leaders must pay for the broken promises and the trails. we keep supporting them in november, they will keep taking our vote for granted. don't vote this november. this is the only way to send them a clear message. you can no longer take us for granted. don't vote. >> colby king -- excuse me -- is this a first in american politics, a member of a minority group urging fellow minority voters not to vote? >> i cannot speak for all minorities. i have never heard of this before. but this is another example of attempted voter suppression. this is the most blatant one we have seen. anti-democrats and anti- democratic.
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this goes beyond the pale, encouraging people to stay away from the polls. a step to keep democratic voters away from pulls in, say, nev. >> that is where this did play. it did play in nevada, and obviously, harry reid's reelection strategy relies on a large latino turnout. >> the idea that it is oppression is complete nonsense. suppression implies the use of the authority of government in providing the vote. this is advice, don't go out and vote. sometimes it is good advice. secondly, what is new and unique here is that in broadcasting, out of all the tens of thousands of advertisements in all the races and the country, you show one that, as you said, did not appear on television. >> let's get the definitions clear. suppression is not talking about the government's hand. republicans of done this before,
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telling people that you don't vote on tuesday, you vote on wednesday, that date are going to check your registration and if you have an address to record -- an arrest record -- >> and this advertisement that was shown was none of that. it does not give a wrong date of the election, it does not say that you have a literacy requirement. it says don't vote. you are and adults. you can vote or not, you can listen or not. >> if you want to defend this, charles, we have nothing to talk about. >> i defend ads that tell you to use a certain -- >> a "don't vote" ad is acceptable? >> let's hear from my colleagues.
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jeanne. >> what this demonstrates is that all the outside groups that have jumped in cannot be controlled or coordinated with campaigns, and there is always a risk that one of them will overstep the line and create an issue for candidates that the candidates themselves did not create. in this case, harry reid has tried to take this ad that ran on radio, not for long, and attach it to his republican opponent, sharron angle, and her to her candidacy with it. we will see if it works, but she did not start it. >> the only thing this ad the mistress is the choices on this show that we choose as to suppose it -- the only thing this advertisement demonstrates is the dress is on this show that we choose to supposedly represent a campaign. >> charles, i am going to have to suppress you. nina, you think that's a policy meant it when she said -- jeanne, do you think nancy
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pelosi midwood she said she would rather be in her shoes than the republicans'? >> i cannot imagine what she was speaking of. if you look at the long standing in comments, barney frank in massachusetts is fighting for his life. i could go to the very outset predictions of the number of house seats lost, which would be devastating for nancy pelosi and our caucus -- her caucus. >> i was speaking to a big democratic political person this week, and i asked, 40, 60, or 90? he said, "certainly not 90." >> you mentioned barney frank. one index of what kind of your this is, here is a guy who has won 15 races in a row. untouchable. he has lent his own campaign to water thousand dollars --
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$200,000, about 20% of its net worth, in a race where four years ago he did not even have a challenger. that is how impregnable he was. this is a real index, and that is in the northeast, including parts of boston that are very liberal. it is an index of a change in the northeast. the one place i think democrats may still hang on is the west. that is why they make at fire wall up there. >> we concentrate right now on november 2, but just imagine if, on november 2, the house does go republican and the gavel changes hands from the democratic chairman to the republican chairman. barack obama is in for a very tough two years. >> i cannot wait for the first hearing.
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>> that explains why the president, even though he cannot go everywhere, is going everywhere he can in the last two weeks. his travel schedule is packed. granted, some of them are deeply blue, but he can make a big difference because he still calls that a big crowd out there, and part of the democrats' problem is getting the apathetic progress of voters out, because those people were frustrated by the things that obama was not able to accomplish. >> there are two things going on here. one is traditional and other is not. the traditional thing is that the media election is a referendum on where the country is -- maybe your election is a referendum on where the country is. the second day, which is not traditional, is the amount of money that is being spent.
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i cannot tell what the people pay attention to this barrage of stuff, billions of dollars worth of advertising, we cannot turn on the television in some states without seeing -- >> this i checked a week ago. in colorado alone, $27 million has been spent. colorado has 2.4 million active voters. >> colby king, that amount of money can change the terms of the debate. it can overwhelm a campaign. >> absolutely. when you have a candidate, a freshman who is running for reelection, and all of a sudden $20 million floods into the district against them, he will be overwhelmed by that. in close races, where there are tossups and money gets pushed
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into a rush of -- a barrage of ads, it will have some effect on the margins. and it can have a corrosive effect as well. >> bill clinton, the happy warrior, back in the campaign spotlight. >> i am old enough to remember that when you make an important decision, never mind politics, about anything, when you are really mad, there is about 80% chance you will make a mistake. >> bill clinton is back in the spotlight. he is campaigning for 65 candidates at 95 events this year. there he is and florida with kendrick meek, with the senator patty murray in washington state, gov. martin o'malley. he is getting rock star treatment. can bill clinton make a difference for the democrats? >> i think he can come of the
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ways these candidates would not be asking him to come in. certainly the candidates think he can make a difference. he is drawing a very big crowds. in states with early voting, oftentimes they will disperse the crowd into some type of precinct so that they can cast their votes, so it is a great to rally and organize your candidacy. you can communicate and connect with voters in an effective way. we knew that back when he was president that that was a skills that he had, and the candidates are hoping he can do that again. >> the connecting part is the thing that barack obama has been accused of lacking, the emotional connection with the voters. bill clinton seems to epitomize it. >> he does, and he loves it. you watch the happy warrior, and he makes you happy to be watching the exercise. it makes politics a joyful experience, not an arduous one. and if he can energize the base,
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and get people to focus on -- he almost lectors in these things, but they are interesting economic lectures. i think it is a great asset, and the fact that he loves it makes people like to be there br. >> but democrats argue don't go back, but you see clinton and you think, i would like i will more of that. >> he can talk about the good times, the jobs that were created and the balance the budget produced but he does not have the same things at stake as some of the other candidates or barack obama. he has no job to lose. it is all gravy for him. in some places, barack obama is the asset, like in california where the approval ratings are high. he cannot go where bill clinton is going. >> charles, in a truly
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polarizing year, the only authentically bipartisan figure is bill clinton. can you explain that? >> i would not explain it because i don't agree with it. i don't share nina's rapture at seeing him reappear on the scene. he is a great politician and i am not sure he will make a difference either way. what we heard a set -- we heard and say that if you are mad, you don't want to make a decision, because you are likely to be wrong. the democrat said this week -- the president said this week -- they are trying to create a narrative to explain the upcoming democratic collapse -- that the brain is hard wired when you are afraid to not think straight. that is his explanation. what they are preparing this report is that the country is either in panic or is angry, and this is going to act rationally -- he rationally in rejecting
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the democrats. it's an odd proposition, and a reflection of the unbelievable intellectual arrogance of the democratic leadership. >> we went from bill clinton to unbelievable evidence. he is the only bipartisan figure who gets favorable ratings -- >> he may get great ratings, but i took his words which you showed on the screen seriously and try to explain what the implication was. >> as you did not do it successfully. -- succinctly. this week npr fires juan williams for comments he made on a bill o'reilly's fox show. >> when i get on a plane and i see people dressed in muslim garb and that they are identifying themselves first and foremost as muslims, i get nervous. >> the, and got him fired from his old job at national public radio. this is a bit awkward, and i do not want to start a family fight between our npr and fox
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colleagues, but what you make of this? a top front-page play in "the new york times stock was needed to convert. -- it at front-page play in "the new york times." nina totenberg. >> i work for npr, as you said, so i have feelings i will not share for you. npr does not let people go to the inaugural ball, even if they are married to someone who is active, and they put out a bulletin that they cannot go to the jon stewart march, and they have had issues with juan before. i am in the most awkward position here, talking about a management decision that i may or may not agree with, but it was not a terribly popular decision on at the news floor. >> colby king. >> we only saw part of juan's
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statement. he also said on the show, cautioned bill o'reilly not to sweep to broadly on muslims, just as you would not want to make a sweeping charge on christianity because of timothy mcveigh. it is a more balanced statement. certainly what he did was not a firing offense. but npr is now suggesting there was more to it than that. like so many things in this world, it is very murky. >> charles, fox, where you are part of regular contribute your -- where you are a contributor, offered juan it to million- dollar contract. >> i think it is a clear issue. the bigotry charge is a joke. if you heard it in context, there was no big retreat at all. jesse jackson once talked about the side as he feels when he is on the street and he hears footsteps and when it turns out to be a white person, he is
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relieved. it is the kind of a feeling heat says he is sad about, but something to talk about openly. he is not a bigot. juan is not a bigot. npr came up with a second explanation, that he went over the line of npr analysts and correspondents expressing opinions. i am on the set with juan at least once a week, i have been on the set with nina here for almost 17 years, and i don't understand the inconsistency here. why is it ok for nina to express opinions, as she has sharply and unashamedly and openly, and she is an honored correspondent there? in fact, they mention your status on this show in your biography at npr. juan, because he expresses his opinions, gets canned from npr that is what the ceo said yesterday. the standard ought to be lower for juan because he is an
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analyst and nina is a correspondent. >> in the modern journalistic world, where people are asked to give opinions all the time, whether on a show like this or not, if you cover a story he will be asked to appear on a television show and talk about it. it is a very, very difficult line to draw. npr tries to droaw it, in my view, using rules that do not exist anymore. >> what is the difference between you and juan expressing opinions? it is completely illogical and hypocritical. >> on nina's behalf, that is not a question she should be made to answer -- >> she works for npr, she can explain it. >> what this episode demonstrates is the changing nature of journalism. there are a lot of blurred lines and everyone of us has to bear in mind what responsibilities
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and will we want to take -- >> where did juan go over the line? >> it is risky when you get on tv and sometimes you get asked, if you are a reporter, a question that you don't really feel comfortable answering in your capacity as a reporter. >> this is highfalutin a journalistic theory. where did juan go over the line? i am defending him. >> as i said, it was not a firing offense. that is not the question. >> if on call from virginia thomas to anita hill. nights -- reignites a 19-year controversy. she got a call this week from virginia thomas, the wife of supreme court justice clarence thomas. she was looking for an apology for accusing her husband of
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sexual harassment 19 years ago. hill is not going to apologize. what is your take? >> this is almost an anniversary of the hearings. i don't know, but i think that probably mrs. thomas has never gotten over this, and is sitting at 7:30 in the morning stewing. you call the office of brandeis 7:30 in the morning and you don't really expect to get a human being. none of this really makes sense. there is a lot of open political activity that does not reflect well on her husband, either, and could cause serious problems for him on the court. >> i could not agree more. i don't know if there will be more to this story, but it is an odd thing to have it all dredged up so many years later.
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there are many young adults today who don't even know about the initial incident. clearly, i think it is a personal matter, and we will see where it goes. >> colby, why did anita hill make the call public? >> of course, i don't know the answer to that one, either. why did ginni thomas call? this is not and old wound for her. it is a fresh wound. it never healed. it is the number one subject in clarence thomas' mind and ginni thomas' mind, if you look a what he has written about it and what she says about it. that part does not surprise me. what does surprise me is that 19 years later, i still don't fully understand the relationship between those two people. >> what surprises me is why anita hill would go to campus
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police and report this message and give it to them. there is nothing threatening about it. that is a mystery i would like answered as well. >> that is the last word -- >> i accept it humbly. >> i'm mark shields, keeping the chair warm for gordon peterson, who will be back next week. >> for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to
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